In Arizona, unauthorized transportation of children out of the state by a parent is called parental kidnapping or custodial interference. If it is possible for a parent to travel out of state with the children depends completely on the custody order. In some cases, a custodial order forbids such efforts. In other instances, there can be no legal provisions at all.
In Arizona, both parents need to understand their rights in divorce or custody proceedings. If one spouse decides to participate in parental kidnapping, the other parent will have certain legal protections.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) applies when a child has lived with a parent in a specific state for a minimum of six months. If there’s no hindrance in the stay, the state is deemed the child’s home state.
When a state is considered a child’s home state, certain regulations will apply to the capability of parents to move to a different part of the US with minors. UCCJEA is also used to specify which state has particular jurisdiction over custody procedures.
Additionally, the Federal Parental Kidnapping Act from 1980 applies. The act establishes jurisdiction in the case of custody proceedings among the states. This act, just like UCCJEA gives priority to the child’s home state. The goal of the act is to keep parents from taking children to another state trying to get a more beneficial court ruling.
Considering local regulations, Arizona Code 13-1302 has to be examined. The custodial interference regulation implies that custodial interference is engaged whenever a person who doesn’t have the right to takes a child and keeps them from lawful custody, keeps the child from the other parent, stops the child from being given back to the legitimate custodian or removes the child from the state.
An infraction of the code section is determined to be a Class 3, Class 4, Class 6 felony or a class 1 misdemeanor depending on the specifics.
Steps to Take in the Case of Parental Kidnapping in Arizona
If a child has been living for a minimum of six consecutive months in the state of Arizona, that is where the custody proceedings will need to take place. If one parent chooses to leave the state with a child during a custody battle, they will be summoned back to Arizona.
A parent who defies such an order gives the other spouse basis to file a motion for contempt. The faster a motion is filed, the better.
There are protections in place for parents who worry that parental kidnapping may happen before custody proceedings. If there is evidence that a spouse could possibly commit such a violation, a parent will have to address the court as soon as possible. Based on the evidence, a restraining order can be issued. A parent can also request supervised visitation rights if they are worried about possible illegal actions on account of a former spouse.
An essential thing to bear in mind, that when one spouse files for marriage dissolution in Arizona, the court puts a restraining order in place to stop either parent from moving out of state with the children. If such an infringement occurs, it will be investigated on a federal level. Typically, the parent who stays in the state is supported legally and favored until the child is returned back to Arizona safely.
If you find that your children are missing and you’re suspecting parental kidnapping in Arizona, you need to contact the authorities immediately. A consultation with a knowledgeable family attorney could also be beneficial because you will gain some understanding about the most important steps to undertake in the outcome of such an event.
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